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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: May, 2022
May 30, 2022

On August 15, 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in the United States to say farewell to the country whose independence he helped secure more than four decades earlier. Over the next 15 months, Lafayette visited all 24 states, meeting with old friends and attending celebrations hosted by Americans who flocked to see the last-living Major General of the Revolutionary War whose close friendships with George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson shaped both the American and French Revolutions.

Since 2017, Julien Icher has been working to document the 5,000 mile journey that Lafayette took during his farewell visit. Icher, himself a Frenchman, has a remarkable skill set that combines the best of primary source-based research with the technical knowledge required for digital mapping. The result is The Lafayette Trail– a publicly accessible map that allows users to see Lafayette’s physical route, as well as the people, places and events he encountered along the way.

In this episode, Julien joins Ben to talk about Lafayette’s contribution to American Independence, his life after returning to France, and the farewell tour that inspired Julien to create The Lafayette Trail. We also speak about the history of Franco-American friendship and why both countries are better when we work together.

For more on The Lafayette Trail, check out their YouTube channel. Since April 2021, Julien has been posting episodes of his travels in the series “Follow the Frenchman.” You can also follow the project on twitter at @LafayetteTrail.

This is a rebroadcast of RTN #132, which originally aired on June 9, 2019. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

May 23, 2022

Heather Cox Richardson returns to the show to talk history, politics, and life in general. Heather shares her thoughts on what history has to teach us about navigating division and finding unity, the sources she thinks are critical in following US policy, and why she remains optimistic despite increasing polarization in American society. She also discusses what she’s learned from her public engagement work on facebook and from “Letters From an American,” where she has published her thoughts daily for over two years now.

Dr. Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College and co-host of the Now & Then podcast (w/ Joanne Freeman). She is also the author of multiple books including West From Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War (Yale Univ. Press, 2008) and, most recently, How the South Won the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2000). You can follow her on twitter at @HC_Richardson.

If you enjoy this episode, check out our previous conversations w/ Heather Cox Richardson in RTN episode #177 How the South Won the Civil War and #38 The History of the Republican Party.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

May 19, 2022

Brian Rosenwald joins Bob and Ben to talk about the state of American political media, its impact on the divide between Democrats & Republicans, and how the party primary election process in most states exacerbates the problem. Brian also discusses his book Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took over a Political Party that Took Over the United States, (Harvard University Press, 2019) and how his conclusions are holding up three years after publication.

Dr. Brian Rosenwald is scholar in Residence at the Partnership for Effective Public Media Administration and Leadership Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and senior editor of Made By History, a Washington Post history section. You can follow him on twitter at @brianros1.

If you enjoy this episode, check out Brian’s previous appearances on the Road to Now in episodes #30 The Origins of Conservative Talk Radio and #142 How Talk Radio Took Over the Republican Party.

This episode was edited by Ben Sawyer.

 

 

May 16, 2022

Hidetaka Hirota joins Bob and Ben for a conversation about the history of immigration law in the United States and the ways that government officials have decided who could and could not enter the United States. Hidetaka discusses the creation of Federal immigration law and the ways that looking at state immigration policies in the early to mid-19th century can help us understand the Immigration and Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882.

Dr. Hidetaka Hirota is Associate Professor of History at the University of California Berkeley who specializes in the history of US immigration. His book Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) has won multiple awards.

Want to support The Road to Now and get extra episodes and other content? Join us on Patreon!

This is a rebroadcast of RTN #126 which originally aired on April 8, 2019. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

May 9, 2022

The Road to Now just celebrated its 6 year anniversary, so we invited our old friend (and all-time record holder for most RTN appearances) Matt Negrin to join us for a conversation about what's happening in the world and how to deal with it. Along the way, our Associate Producer, Gary Fletcher drops in for an update, and our friend (and long-time Patron) Fig White gets surprisingly brought into the conversation as well.

Click here to watch the video of this episode on YouTube.

Like a lot of anniversaries, this episode went to some surprising and unplanned places, but we'll be back to business as usual next week!

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

May 2, 2022

Bob and Ben catch up to talk about Jonathan Haidt’s recent article in the May issue of The Atlantic, “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,” and their take on the problems of social media and the solutions posed by Haidt and others.

This episode was edited by Ben Sawyer

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